As a tech start-up that is going through the classic growing pains any opportunity for financial assistance is like catnip. You have to follow it. This was the start of a journey that unearthed a cottage industry generating almost £1bn a year, with almost no liability to its clients which could well be costing the UK taxpayer multi billions in wrongly paid out funds.
This seems to be exactly what is going on with the UK’s R&D Tax Credit scheme at the moment. The UK Government created the scheme in 2000, at a time that the government recognised the UK was lagging in various innovation rankings and wished to provide an incentive or set of incentives that would stimulate innovation, creativity, and experimentation. The R&D tax credits are designed as a tax relief to encourage greater R&D spending and innovation.
Across a series of stories published by The Future Shapers on this topic the investigation looked at how the UK R&D Tax Credit scheme is being used and applied for and identifies holes that indicate an industry making money off entrepreneurs while taking no responsibility, often at the expense of the government and the entrepreneurs themselves.
Before publishing this investigative piece, the Future Shapers did circulate it to HMRC representatives and a number of specialist R&D agencies service providers. Up to the date of publication, no comments were received.
The outcome of our investigation was entitled: All that glitters is not gold. It was followed by a second piece elaborating on the topic called Cooking the R&D Books, and concluded with a final piece R&D Musical Chairs. All pieces were subsequently published on the TFS website here from 15 June, 2021.
Following the publication of the story, another attempt was made to get responses from especially the HMRC but at the time of publishing, no additional comments were received.
TFS commits to fully disclose and publish all responses received in relation to the publication of this story and will update this page with the relevant information as and when appropriate.
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